I never realized how many fishermen are in my family – but finding black and white photos of my grandfathers with their fishing gear has led to discussion about their many hobbies and talents.

It may be safe to say most of our grandfathers spent the majority of their time in the outdoor air.

Television wasn’t around when they were young men. I looked up what year it was invented and who in the world invented it. Turns out a 21 year old man came up with it in 1927. RCA introduced television to the American public at the 1939 World’s Fair. Before the fair, RCA published a brochure for their dealers to explain television. The first color televisions were available in the 1950s.

I know movie theatres were around in the 1940s – because my mom wrote about the many local theaters in her diary. She even saved a few movie ticket stubs.

My grandfathers and my uncles were fishermen. Teaching the next generation how to do things outdoors seemed to be the thing to do.

My husband is a fisherman, and he is the kind of guy who will pack up for a week-end or a full week and just fish. He and his friends have been known to take off for an afternoon fishing trip – always willing to take anyone along who does or does not know how to fish.  

I have been fishing with him very few times. I don’t know much about fishing, but I did complete an online word game one day that happened to be about fish. And I scored 100%. The only way I would have known the answers is apparently through osmosis. I was shocked. A perfect score. About fish.

My husband took his fishing gear to our grandson’s birthday party held at Mallard Lake in the Toledo area a couple years ago. Grandpa had a few fishing poles set up for the children. They sat at the edge of the lake and were instructed on how to watch the bobber.

My grandson Thomas sat on the bank waiting for the bobber to bob. He looked at his grandfather and said, “I don’t think they should call it fishing. I think they should call it waiting.”

If ever there was a statement that made all of us smile, it was this. It became a quote we remember and repeat between us.  

I imagine men have the same thought when they go shopping with their wife. Men do not call it shopping – they call it waiting.

My grandma and grandpa Imm were also savers of saved things – and I became aware of their collection of saved stuff when my nephew Aaron brought some boxes down from my parents’ garage attic. More greeting cards. More newspaper articles. More things. More stuff.

My mother inherited these boxes back in the early 1970s when she had a young growing family. She did not have time to sort through the boxes – and I can just hear her telling someone to take the boxes upstairs in the garage attic. She would have to face them later.

I have to admit it is interesting to sort through their things and learn about their life through the letters and cards they had received. I would rather have these boxes than not have them. And I smile as I think those behind the signatures would never have guessed their letters would surface more than 50 years later when Albert and Lula’s grandchildren would open their cards once again.   

In June of 1967, my grandmother received a little get well card that was interesting. The words on the front of the card seem so odd – for it reads “To Someone Indoors.” I asked myself what that means.

I suppose I do have a few friends who spend most of the hours of their lives outdoors – and they would be the fishermen in my life. This is a greeting card I could send to outdoorsy people. However, the picture of the flower on the front is a bit on the feminine side. And interestingly enough – I found this card just a few days after I had written the second paragraph of this story.

On the inside of the card are the words “Here’s a thought and a smile And a greeting to say Hello and how are you? Hope you’re better today” The card was signed by Edith Sanders.

So I showed the card to my friend Elaine who said back then – if you weren’t outdoors working in your garden and such, that meant you were ill, so thus you were someone who had to be indoors, and those three words “To Someone Indoors” was very appropriate. It seemed to me it was like a sympathy card – telling the recipient they were so sorry about having to be indoors.

My guess is that generation knew they should at least sit outside in the sun to help the healing process.   

We spend a lot of time waiting for things to happen… we wait for meals to be served, mail to be delivered, and friends to make up their mind. We wait for grandchildren to visit. We wait for phone calls. We wait for the rain to stop. We know we have to wait for just the right weather if we have a kite to take outside. We wait for our gardens to grow, bobbers to bob, and fish to bite.  

My grandpa Imm found out his neighborhood cat knew how to wait for the right moment, and he ended up with a different kind of fishing story to tell. He had gone fishing in the fall of 1968 and came home with 3 nice blue gills. He left the fish in a bucket and went inside the house to rest for a while.

When he returned to take care of the fish, he found an empty bucket. The neighbor’s cat had taken off with the fish.

The story of the little thief trespassing on to my grandfather’s property made the ‘news’ more than once. After it was published in the Edgerton Earth newspaper, a local artist and author, Russ Hilton, included Grandpa’s story in one of his books entitled “Would You Believe It Happened in Williams County.”

I met Russ years ago and told him he had included my Grandpa Imm’s story in his book. Russ showed me some of his art work, and I remember thinking it would be fun to have a talent such as his – combining art with human interest stories. And when we have to spend time indoors, what better occupation could there be?

Russ had drawn a picture of a cat in a pail and wrote the following paragraph:

Albert Imm went fishing recently and caught three beautiful blue gills, so he says, but forced to quit fishing due to a wind change. He went home with his three fish. He decided to rest a while before he cleaned them, so he put them in a pail in the garage. When he went to clean them they were gone. The culprit was the neighbor’s cat who always knows when Mr. Imm goes fishing. But he has no regrets because the cat is the mother of a number of kittens, but he sure would have liked to have seen her get those fish out of the bucket! 

The Waiting Disclaimer:

You have only moments to live. One moment after another. One moment you may have fish in your bucket and the next moment you may not.

Go ahead and call it waiting – but you are simply living life. You may finish a day’s worth of moments and realize you had fun with friends, and you had fun with family, and you found joy in the waiting.  

And no one could appreciate the fact that you place value in resting, and napping, and quiet time, more than your neighborhood cat.  

A picture of Grandpa Imm – most likely taken in the 1960s. Looks as though the photographer caught him taking a Sunday afternoon nap.
Grandpa Kimpel was also a fisherman. His given name was Edward Carl Boston Kimpel. Grandpa was born in 1881 and passed away in August of 1947.
Thomas and his grandfather fishing together in October of 2017.

© Copyright 2020 Marlene Oxender